Costa Rican coffee among the most recognized by US coffee drinkers

February 17, 2015
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Costa Rica is the third most recognized coffee-producing country for consumers in the United States, behind Colombia and Brazil, according to a survey by the National Coffee Association (NCA), released last week.

The results are part of National Coffee Drinking Trends 2014, in which the NCA surveyed a sample of people representative of the U.S. population. Respondents were asked to name the countries with which they associate when hearing the words “coffee-producing.” A total of 85 percent said Colombia, 67 percent said Brazil and 59 percent said Costa Rica. Kenya and Vietnam were fourth and fifth, with 33 and 16 percent, respectively.

Colombian coffee, the study said, continues to lead the perception of quality, as 96 percent of respondents considered the South American coffee to be of “good or very good taste.” Costa Rican coffee placed third in this category, behind Brazil.

The U.S. is the largest market for Costa Rican coffee, buying 53 percent of the country’s exports, according to data from the Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER). The U.S. in 2013 bought $161.5 million of a total of $302 million of coffee sold by Costa Rica, according to PROCOMER.

The United States is the world’s largest coffee buyer, and according to the NCA, 61 percent of U.S. consumers drink coffee every day. U.S. coffee drinkers surpass those who on a daily basis prefer other beverages. Those who said they prefer tap water on a daily basis totaled 54 percent, followed by bottled water at 46 percent, tea at 44 percent, soda at 41 percent and juices at 33 percent.

Coffee is the beverage of choice for breakfast and at any other moment before noon. Almost two-thirds of U.S. coffee drinkers said they usually drink a cup to stay awake and alert or to keep them warm, the study found.

Costa Rica has appeared in the top three spots of NCA’s survey for three consecutive years. According to Ronald Peters, executive director of the Costa Rican Coffee Institute (ICAFE), the position is remarkable because the country does not invest heavily in promotion in the U.S.

“It is a recognition mostly of the quality of our coffee, since Costa Rica’s production represents just above 1 percent of the world’s grain harvest,” Peters told the weekly El Financiero.

Coffee rust in recent years has severely affected Costa Rica’s coffee production, but results from the NCA’s survey likely will allow Costa Rican coffee to trade above the average price in the NY commodities market, according to ICAFE.

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